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Breaking taboos and the cycle of poverty

We’re sometimes asked if we collect sanitary products. We don’t – we only collect new pants plus new and gently used bras – but some of the pants we collect are used to support charities that supply reusable hygiene kits.

One such organisation is the Tumaini Fund who provide hygiene kits. Tracy Taylor of the Tumaini Fund (Scotland) says: “The Tumaini Fund (Scotland) is very grateful to Maria and Smalls for All for providing pants for our hygiene kits which are distributed to orphans in Kagera, NW Tanzania. These kits will last each girl 3 years and will buy back over 180 days’ worth of education. It’s a privilege for us to take these kits in our suitcases each time we visit and a real joy to watch the girls receive them. As Joyce, age 14, from Bukiriro says: ‘Thank you to everyone for making these kits for us. Now I can be at school every day just like the boys.’”

See A pants journey to follow the story of a pack of Smalls pants that Tracy took to Tanzania.

We also support Action in Africa. As vice chair Tina Rayburn explains, “Whilst we have supported our schoolgirls in Nyaishozi, Tanzania, by providing feminine hygiene products which rely on a supply of knickers from Smalls for All, we also recognise that this female community will wear underwear every day if given the choice. However, if a family has to choose between buying knickers or eating, they will always buy food. Consequently, by supplying a tiny charity such as Action in Africa with knickers, Smalls for All enables us to provide this level of comfort and dignity to the schoolgirls and local ladies of Nyaishozi, regardless of their menstrual cycle.  

“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The William Stewart Foundation is in the far north of Malawi, in the Chitipa district. There are hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children who are supported via their feeding programme and lots of smaller projects.

“One project which has made a big difference to the teenage girls is the Period Poverty Project,” Sarah Black, trustee & development manager told us. “There are two hand turn Singer sewing machines at the Foundation. A group of girls made drawstring bags and sanitary towels. Each girl, who needed one, was gifted a bag with five reusable sanitary towels, soap, three pairs of pants and a health information sheet. The girls were delighted as they no longer have to miss a week of school every month and, as well as achieving, their self-confidence has grown. Thanks so much to Maria and team at Smalls for All for supporting us with this project by supplying so many pairs of pants. You are pantastic!”

We’re glad to provide pants for hygiene kits which enable girls to stay in school and women in work during their period, thereby helping break the cycle of poverty.